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Q3 auto focus compared to SL2/SL2-S?

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The AF is one of the big changes in the Q3. The only other Leica system with comparable AF tools is the SL2/SL2-S.

For those with both systems, how do they compare?

  • Speed and success in identifying bodies, faces, eyes?
  • Ability to track them as they move?
  • Performance in iAF, a function common to both systems?
  • Other differences or similarities?

And a question specific to the Q3. In the Q2, when you select a crop, AF works only within that crop. Is that the same with the Q3? i.e. If you select a crop, will the Q3 select a body/face/eye outside the crop? 

Edited by LocalHero1953
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It’s been a while since I had my SL2-S, and it would be lens dependent.. I did shoot motorsports at a track with the Panasonic 70-2004 f/4 and remember it being OK, but certainly not Sony or Canon R5 level. In general, I think I’d say they are close, but I would probably still give the edge to the SL2-S given current firmware for the Q3. That being said I don’t think AF equivalence would be far apart given a few updates to the Q3. Not sure on the SL2 and if there’s any difference between the SL2-S and SL2.

Neither platform (SL or Q) is what I’d choose if I needed to prioritize AF, but both are good enough to get the job done. 

I’m actually shooting a Fuji X-E4 with 18/2 and the Q3 together for a YT comparison video at the moment. The AF on these are very comparable, if that helps anyone! 


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I have no experience of the Sony/Canon high performers, but I know the SL2-S performance and understand its limitations, which is why that comparison would be helpful to my understanding of the Q3.

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Whilst I’ve only had my Q3 since Sunday (UK) it’s very early days but I’d summarise as follows compared to my SL2-S:

1. The intelligent AF is more accurate and quicker to respond to movement with the Q3.

2. The EVF resolution seems to drop further on the Q3 when using AFC at 4fps - i.e. continuous AF active. 

3. AFS no perceivable differences.

4. Tracking better with the Q3 but being a fixed 28mm some limitations the further the subject is away.

5. Eye, face and body detect better but the animal detect mode needs work - in mixed groups (humans/animals) it seems to jump around like crazy.

Again I would stress that it really is early days and I need more time with the camera whilst I’m out in India next week. I’m off to the Leica UK event this evening so no doubt I’ll hear more thoughts tonight!

So far I’m really enjoying the whole experience over my Q2’s, rear looks are subjective but I do do prefer the great functionality of a flip screen and I imagine this is now coming to the SL3 as well. For accurate placement of the new AF system I’d prefer the option that the whole crop filled the screen at 75 & 90mm at least. 

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